[Updated] Experience using Tamiya acrylic paints
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[Updated] Experience using Tamiya acrylic paints

Posted in Custom Workstation

After reading around and painting with 2 Tamiya colors today, here are some results.

I'm using:
-Synthetic brushes
-70% Alcohol as thinner
-Flat Black and normal White (acrylics)
-Painting on bare Apoxie Sculpt that's been lightly sanded (no primer)

•Don't shake the paints or you may get a bunch of bubbles, stir them before use. I used a pipette to stir them since I use it to take out a few drops of paint anyway.

•These paints are on the thin side, some look airbrush ready though I still see people suggest you do at least a 50/50 mix of paint to thinner.

•Most people suggest you use them with an airbrush because brushing them on can be tough. I have to agree to some degree, I don't recommend these for beginners. They dry a little faster than acrylics, so you have to already be comfortable with painting in order to find a workflow that works for you. I started off using my usual brushing technique, but using alcohol instead of water to keep the brush a little damp. This was working okay, but eventually I went from a brushing motion to more of a spreading/floating motion. I could feel the paint wanting to tear up with my usual brushing motion, so I had to switch to the ginger touch. Ultimately I got a nice smooth finish on the first coats, now waiting to apply more.

•The bottles say to wait an hour before applying another coat, or else you risk tearing up the previous coat. I think you can fudge it and just wait like 15-20 minutes if you have a light touch (I did two coats to start, maybe 10 minutes apart, no problems).

•Since these paints are alcohol based, I'm using 70% alcohol instead of water as thinner. 90% is recommended, but I only have 70% and it worked fine.

•Clean the brushes by swishing them around in your cup of alcohol, then rinse them in the sink with clean water. Maybe a 50/50 mix of water/alcohol would save you money, I see people saying they reuse the same cup for weeks before needing to dump it.

The white paint was thin, but because white is a pain in the asss I thinned it a little more. Glad I did, you can brush it on without problems as long as you do it quickly and don't drag over the same area too much. Let it dry completely before adding more coats. I definitely suggest you airbrush this.

Black is usually easy to work with and this Flat Black is too. I thinned it just with whatever dampness was on the brush and it worked great, it has a nice matte finish.

(As an aside, it's interesting to see that Formula P3 paints really do have excellent coverage compared to Testors, Tamiya, Citadel, etc.)

Price-wise I can't complain too much, I got the bigger 23ml bottles for $2.50 each, making them $1.50 cheaper than Testors while giving you more paint! (However, after shipping I ended up paying about $3 a bottle, meh.) The 10ml bottles are around $2, but you might as well just get the bigger size since you get over twice as much for only 50 cents more.

I got them online from Hobbylinc, but damn, they take a week to process your order and another week for it to get to your mailbox. If you don't want to wait, you might as well go to your local hobby shop and pick some up.

Posted by Henchmen4Hire
on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - Updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2018
User Comments
Ivory Towers -
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Looks like you got it covered bro! Im just gonna use thisa page as a reference on How-To use paints.lol. I don't really use Tamiya paints but are they really that different than testors or model masters??? And I didn't know they were alcohol based. Are testors or valejo also alcohol based?
Henchmen4Hire -
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Tamiya and Testors have a similar consistency, they're both obviously thinner when you compare them to craft paint, Citadel or Formula P3. (I should stop talking about Citadel, it isn't fair since I haven't used their recent Layers/Base series).

Testors has a strong smell because it has something in it that improves the durability, the flow, or something. Far as I know they're water-based though. They don't react badly on any plastics I've tried. They dry about as fast as my water-based Formula P3. Their gloss/semi-gloss paints are always more durable than any of my Formula P3/Citadel results. I rarely have to seal Testors for everyday handling.

Tamiya punches you in the face with alcohol fumes lol. Use a fan to suck air out the window when using them. These Tamiyas dry fast so you have to work quickly. They cure just as hard as Testors (semi-gloss has a harder slicker shell than flats). I like the durability, I'm not worried about handling the parts.

Vallejo/P3/Citadel are water-based. They don't have a strong odor, are less durable, and usually require thinner to handpaint.

This page has some useful comparisons between several paint brands:

(Apparently Vallejo's Liquid Gold/Silver are alcohol-based, and have similar properties as Tamiya.)
TeknoKyo -
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
I use Tamiya acrylics BUT only with Mr.Color Thinner. I don't prime so I put on thin coats normaly 2 coats min or more more until the color is what it should be. Normally I have to put the paints onto a tray then wait for 5-10 mins add thinner then only can start painting else the paint won't stick proper due to no priming. YEP .. I hate paintin the white and yellow ... takes too many coats.. haha. I do only brush painting don't have airbrush and the Tamiya thinners never seem to work well for customizing purposes.
Henchmen4Hire -
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Thanks for the insight, I'm glad I didn't buy the Tamiya thinner then. I kept reading that all it was is just more alcohol with a little bit of drying time re tarder and flow aid. The 70% alcohol has been working for me as thinner.

The paint has been sticking well to the bare apoxie, but I would def use primer for those lighter colors. I'd rather use my usual Formula P3 paints because they have better coverage even when thinned.
Henchmen4Hire -
Monday, May 14, 2018
Quick follow up, the Flat Black covers well, only took 2 coats to completely cover the apoxie. White however needs multiple thinned coats to avoid visible brushstrokes. I'm on the 4th right now and it looks like one more should do it.
Henchmen4Hire -
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
For anyone wondering, it took about 6 coats to get a solid white, I def suggest you use primer under it. This White is thin enough that it tries to self-level, and dries to a hard semi-gloss shell, I like it.
Henchmen4Hire -
Saturday, May 12, 2018
What's up, no one uses Tamiya?
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